Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Colby Ambrosio.
A Welland, Ontario native and an Ottawa 67s Draft pick (fourth round, 66th overall in the 2018 OHL Draft) Colby Ambrosio opted to go the USHL/NCAA route instead of playing in the OHL. Playing for the Tri-City Storm, Ambrosio put up 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points in 48 games before this past season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The strong season sets him up nicely for the 2020 NHL Draft, as well as for moving up to college hockey where he is committed to playing for the Boston College Eagles next season.
In 2018-19, Ambrosio scored 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 57 games. He also played one playoff game for the Storm. Ambrosio represented Team Canada White at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He recorded three assists in five tournament games. Ambrosio bounced around in his minor hockey development. In addition to playing for Welland, he also spent time with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres in 2017-18. In his midget season, he put up 36 goals and 33 assists for 69 points in 66 games for Buffalo. The previous year, he played his bantam hockey for the Oshawa Generals Select Under-15 squad.
Colby Ambrosio Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Right
Born August 7th, 2002 — Welland, Ontario
Height 5’9″ — Weight 169 lbs [175 cm/77 kg]
While Ambrosio is undersized, he makes up for it with his elite skating ability. His first type is explosive and he reaches top-speed very quickly with excellent acceleration. Ambrosio has very good top-end speed. He is a threat to beat a defender wide and cut to the front of the net as well get behind the defence for a breakaway. Ambrosio also has excellent edgework and agility. He can accelerate out of turns with strong crossovers. His ability to change directions on a dime can also be used as a weapon, as he can get by defenders both with and without the puck. Ambrosio’s lower body is strong and he has good balance. He can fight through checks and is stronger on the puck than one would expect from a 5-foot-9 forward. His low centre of gravity helps Ambrosio in battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Ambrosio pairs his strong skating with good hands. He can make moves while skating at top speed. This helps him to control the puck through the neutral zone and generate successful zone entries. He is also dangerous on the rush. When the puck is in the offensive zone, he can slow down the play or speed it up as necessary. With good vision and playmaking skills, he controls the play along the half-boards on the power play. He can quarterback things from this spot, setting up teammates for scoring opportunities. His good lateral movement and quick hands can make moves on opponents to open up passing lanes. One criticism though is that he plays too much on the perimeter, not taking the puck to dangerous areas.
Ambrosio also has a good arsenal of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot are powerful and accurate. They also feature a quick release. He likes to set up in the faceoff circle and let go a one-timer. Ambrosio is confident and not afraid to shoot from anywhere. He scores goals by taking a high volume of shots on the net. When he doesn’t have the puck, Ambrosio is willing to play a gritty game. He is involved in battles along the boards and getting in on the forecheck. When there is a scrum, he is often at the middle of it.
Ambrosio is also relentless in puck pursuit in his own end of the ice. He is willing to support the defence against the cycle game and work down low. He also brings back pressure against the rush. However, his lack of size and strength becomes an issue here. Ambrosio can be overpowered and beaten by bigger, stronger opponents. He has good positioning and works to cut down passing lanes, but again size is an issue as he lacks a long stick to cut down those passes.
Projection and Comparison
Ambrosio has the offensive skills necessary to make an impact but he is still a risk due to the lack of size. While he’s been good, his offensive ability is not overwhelming opponents at the USHL level, so there is a question if it is high-end enough to overcome his lack of size at the next level. If he develops, he could become a top-nine centre but may need sheltered minutes and careful match-ups to not face the best players on an opponent. His game is reminiscent of Vinnie Hinostroza, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Colby Ambrosio that are available on youtube and twitter.
Colby Ambrosio (#67) is one of the most under-the-radar players in the #2020NHLDraft. One thing that really strikes me as a positive is his major impact on the PP. He's constantly getting open and moving the puck well. He was wide open here at the end, but doesn;t get a pass… pic.twitter.com/2VST3cc1o3
— Dylan Griffing (@Dylan_Griffing) March 24, 2020
— USHL (@USHL) October 28, 2018
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Colby Ambrosio Main Photo:
Great season for PEP Trained Colby Ambrosio! Colby finished his sophomore season in the USHL with 26 Goals & 50 Points, doubling his numbers from his rookie year ? Colby is committed to Boston College & is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. #PEPHockey #RethinkYourTraining pic.twitter.com/H2k3jHBfyz
— Power Edge Pro (@PEPHockey) April 27, 2020